Jon boats and bad weather?

Discussion in 'Boating' started by Old Bill, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. Old Bill

    Old Bill New Member

    Oklahoma City
    Howdy all,

    Now, I don't mean to start a boat war...nor have anyone burn down my house...but, I would like to know your thoughts on the use of Jon boats in bad weather?

    The first boat I owned was a 14-foot Jon boat with a 9.9 outboard. I don't remember how wide it was, but I'd guess it was about 36-inches wide. I only used it one time for two weeks at a large lake in Arkansas. As long as the weather was nice, the boat was great. However, on the last day when i needed to load the boat, the wind was howling from the North and the water was whitecapping!

    Several times on the way to the loading ramp the bow of the boat jumped sideways (90-degrees) when a large gust of wind would hit it's side!:crazy:

    Once I got safely to solid ground I swore I'd never get in a flat bottom boat every again! At least not one that didn't have a fixed keel to keep it going in the right direction!:big_smile: No kidding, I actually considered attaching a small keel the length of the bottom!

    Was it just my lack of experience by not having some weight in the bow...or are Jon boats more unstable in wind and rough water than a Semi-V?

    Remember, I have tender don't yell too loud....

  2. anchorpuller

    anchorpuller New Member

    North Caro

    I have two jon boats. One is a 14' with a 9.9 Merc...about 36" wide. It was my first boat, and I still have it.
    My other one is 16' and about 48" wide with a 15hp Seahorse.

    They are both great boats. But, like you say, that smaller one will NOT handle white caps. I have putt putted to the dock more than once along the shoreline. God help me if I had to cross the lake if it was whitecapping. Now here I'm not talking about a small lake. I fish a pretty big reservoir; about 12 miles in length.

    The wider boat can handle SOME wind. I can make it across the lake, but it is still harder to handle than a fiberglass or v-hull boat.

    There are ways to handle wind with the boats, such as going across the waves, not into them. The weight on the front of the boat is another factor, especially in the wind.

    Most of the time if the wind is kickin' that bad, it's time to be off the lake for me anyway.

    I do love the way I can get into places that the "pretty" boats can't. I love the way I don't have to worry about hurting mine. I drive that sucker about anywhere I want to.

  3. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Checotah, Oklahoma
    Long ago, and far away, I was young, dumb, and the owner of a brand new Ouachita 1648. I ran all over the near-shore waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and lived, somehow, to tell about it.

    God must love fools.:tounge_out:
  4. big corey

    big corey New Member

    South Carolina
    well you have your opinion just like everybody else little jon boats are not
    as good as fiberglass boats in rough water but some common sense will
    help you get through it but i dont fish lakes a hole lot but ive been in the river with my boat 31 times this past year and i can get in places with my
    jon boat that you cant get in and it takes more power to push a
    fiberglass boat than a aluminum jon boat so better gas mileage with ajon
    boat i love my jon boat it works perfect for what i do different strokes
    for different folks
  5. Parasite

    Parasite New Member

    Jon boats seem to generally do good in rough water but if the wind is too strong it will blow them away. Try taking a float tube (belly boat) into rough water. EEEK!!!! It is not fun at all.:wink:
  6. Old Bill

    Old Bill New Member

    Oklahoma City

    Laura, the only boat I now own is a 1957 14 foot semi-V aluminum boat that I bought for $400 with trailer. I share your feelings about feeling free to take the boat anywhere. I've owned several fiberglas boats and while they were good boats, I sure didn't feel that they would take the hard knocks that a aluminum boat would take.

    No doubt it is true that god must love fools! Otherwise, there are many of us who wouldn't still be alive!:wink:

    big corey, sorry if I gave the impression that I thought that fiberglass boats were better than Jon boats. My one bad experience with my Jon boat scared me spitless...but, now many years, and many boats, later I know that it was partly my fault. One for being out is such weather, and two, not knowing enough to know that some weigh was needed in the bow.

    What size of Jon boat do you have?

    I have drooled all over some of the larger 18 to 20-foot Jon boats! Some look like they are 6 plus feet wide! :big_smile:

    Yeah, and crossing a large lake in a pontoon boat in a 30-35 MPH wind can sure make a guy wonder why he is out on the water! But, I guess it's still safer than being in a 14-foot boat!:roll_eyes:

    Thanks everyone for your replys.

  7. cantstopgrandma

    cantstopgrandma New Member

    I've ridden in a few jon boats. Mostly 14 footers. The ride isn't great in rough weather, but never did i feel like i was putting my life in danger. My uncles boat is a 14'x42" jon that we duck hunt out of. Last year the wind was blowing so hard i had to wade into the water with my chest waders, pulling the boat, have my uncle get the boat started and me jump in while he took off....all to get the boat off of the shore!! We had 4 inches of water in the bottom when we got across the river mostly from water spraying over the bow in the white caps. I believe the winds were gusting over 30 that day. I own a 14' x 48" flatbottom jon, and was in 2 foot waves/whitecaps in a local river this summer. If you dont panic, you will not have any trouble. I kept it slow, kept the bow up so it wouldn't crash down and go under/through the waves, and TOOK MY TIME! We were probably at least 2 miles from the boat ramp when the wind picked up, and i had no problems. Took us a while to get back to shore, but no problems. If its that windy, slow down. If i've got my boat planed out and going full throttle, of course it tries to change course in a hurry when its windy. But when i slow down and take my time and not panic, Its all good. Most bad weather boating problems occur when people panic. I personally like the wider jon boats with higher sides, and that will help with being safer and feeling safer. My boat is 70 inches across the gunwhales and the sides are 21inches you that safe feeling.
  8. bigwhiskers

    bigwhiskers New Member

    Elon, North Ca
    Howdy Bill,
    I think you are on the mark about not having enough weight in the bow. Flat bottoms do suffer more from the wind and chop than semi-v's but, if you take your time, it'll be alright. I fish out of a 19 foot Carolina Skiff, and she takes chop like a bicycle with square wheels. No kidding. That said, I still wouldn't trade the shallow draft for anything.
    Happy New Year, Bigwhiskers
  9. oh no

    oh no New Member

    I have a Lowes Roughneck 1960, 19 ft long 60" wide floor, 7 foot across the top, wide. It has a 90 hp Merc, and on KY Lake when there are 4-6 foot rollers, I have fun riding them , like I have a power surf board. But no one has accused me of having good sence. Big jon boats will handle rough water, but not wide open. Those semi vs and v boats will cut them waves, and can go faster.

    But when the lake is rough, I don't like speeding anyway. Riding those big waves is a lot of fun.